The College of Charleston equestrian program has a new head coach and new training headquarters.

CofC Athletics announced Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, that Natasha “Tash” V. McCarthy has been named head coach of the College’s equestrian program and the team’s new home facility will be located at the White Horses Boarding and Training Facility in nearby Huger, South Carolina. McCarthy is taking the helm from long-time equestrian Head Coach Bob Story, who recently announced his retirement.

“We are excited to partner with the team at White Horses to provide a fantastic home for our equestrian student-athletes and horses,” College of Charleston Director of Athletics Matt Roberts said. “Coach McCarthy has a great reputation both regionally and nationally. Through her leadership and the resources available at White Horses, we expect continued excellence for our proud equestrian program.”

The new head coach of the College’s equestrian team, Natasha V. McCarthy.

McCarthy (née Vitkovic) has spent her whole life competing horses and working within the hunter jumper equestrian industry. She worked for some of the nation’s most esteemed professionals until 2007, when she decided to claim her own professional status by accepting a position at Tuxbury Farm in Charleston.

After completing a successful eight years of teaching and managing a high-volume equestrian program, McCarthy and her husband, Mike, purchased a 24-acre and 24-stall boarding facility – White Horses, LLC. White Horses’ mission is to offer top-quality care and instruction for the horse and rider, which has resulted in turning out winning combinations on the U.S. Equestrian Horse Show Circuit.

McCarthy is a 2000 graduate of Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communications. Due to her competition experience at Hollins, she has successfully prepped riders interested in competing on the NCAA and Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) level. 

In recent years, McCarthy and the White Horses team have traveled extensively throughout the Southeast at some of the nation’s top horse shows. They are active participants in the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program and attend the nation’s most prestigious National Equitation Finals including the Platinum Performance/U.S. Equestrian Talent Search Finals, The Dover/U.S. Hunt Seat Medal Finals and the ASPCA Maclay Finals.

“I am both excited and honored that White Horses, LLC, has been chosen as the team headquarters and training facility for the College of Charleston equestrian program,” McCarthy said. “We look forward to carrying on the legacy and tradition (former Head Coach) Bob Story pioneered for several decades at the College. We are thrilled to begin the new academic year with both the returning student-athletes and incoming freshman class. We are also eager to learn and care for the CofC collegiate horses, who now call White Horses, LLC, home.”

Assisting McCarthy with the program at CofC is Shannon O’Brien. Originally from a small town in Ohio, she attended Andrews School as a boarding student, which fueled her passion for equestrian sports. O’Brien continued pursuing her love for horses and the equestrian industry by competing in the higher ranks of the junior and amateur jumper divisions. She claimed her professional status in 2009. 

In addition to working with some of the nation’s top professionals throughout the states of Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, New York and Florida, O’Brien has spent intermittent time in Europe working as a talent recruit. Since moving to Charleston in 2011, she has remained traveling on the equestrian circuit and is working towards her bachelor’s degree in business administration through the UMass Amherst online program. After meeting McCarthy in 2017, O’Brien has been working at White Horses as an assistant trainer.

Featured image: An aerial shot of White Horses Boarding in Huger, South Carolina. (Photo courtesy of Charleston Realty Pics)